I usually refrain from commenting on beefy type internet matters but I think this discussion deserves some attention. Yes, the views available on Afron*rd.com stink of racism and are personally offensive but the real reason I want to comment on the back and forth posting between the writers is because they afforded me an opportunity to remember why I am a fan of ground breaking music, which for years was produced by people from within HipHop culture/communities. I embraced rap music at a young age because it embraced me. It was mostly sincere, probing, relatable, fun, innovative and inclusive.

Afr*nerds state their general purpose is to set the tone for alternative Black interests and information, which is great, but in practice what they accomplish is a perpetuation of racial boundaries and flawed logic. Unfortunately, this negative contribution outweighs their noble and buried intent. Granted, I never heard of the filthy Afron*rd blog until now and I’ll probably forget about them before the day is up. I know they must have some content published that is entertaining or thoughtful. But the few samples of writing I came across, the imagery, the terminology (I wonder if Bambatta goes around using terms like “us” and “ours” when he delineates “his” people?) all point to egos that define their world through their interpretation of race and color, not through understanding or critical analysis. Is that what HipHop is or was? An attempt at exclusivity? Not a multifaceted form of expression?

I would argue that early participants of HipHop related activities rebuffed racial boundaries and I would further argue strongly that HipHop emerged from the merger of different cultures and varied experiences, not through the separation of peoples based on their blackness, whiteness or portaricaness (as Latinos were popularly referred to). The music that provided the samples, the steps that provided the foundation for the styles of dance and the language that provided the jargon were all emanating from a diverse set of people, not just one race or another. The desperation to express oneself, to have fun, to be heard, all these things led to an incredible explosion of moving and creative art. These desires are universal. The music was especially embraced as an outlet for racial tension and other emotional experiences. But race was just one of the many topics. It must have been such a liberating experience, no wonder it became a popular theme, but in no way was early HipHop just about or just for African-american people.

What is HipHop today? Who knows. Can anyone really discern HipHop from popular culture? Maybe I’ll tune into Hot 97 later for a refresher but it seems to me that early HipHop is long gone. Now we have the remnants and memories which live mostly through writing and music. Even the definition of the term itself is so contested and carries so many different interpretations that we mostly reject it. It’s not even about HipHop music for me anymore, it’s just about good music with grand goals. Link